Comparison is the theft of Joy
You may have come across that saving somewhere.
The idea behind this saying is simple. Us humans have the unfortunate habit of constantly, chronically, and compulsively comparing ourselves to everybody else.
We possess this unshakeable need to be a certain size. Or to look a certain way. To buy the best car or clothes or the latest phone.
And then, even if we somehow manage to obtain all of “the best”, there’s always somebody, somewhere – whether it be that celebrity or a childhood friend or a complete stranger on social media- who has something better.
I know, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. And it’s not entirely your fault. We live in a heavily commercialized world. Thanks to mass media and mass marketing, from the time we are born we are told that in order to be happy we simply need more.
But this mentality is so dangerous.
Living in this cycle means that we can never and will never be happy. It means our happiness is based solely on superficial markers and manufactured dreams. This artificial sense of happiness is not sustainable long term.
Nor should it be. Your life has meaning beyond what you own or how much money you make. You are beautiful and perfect and loved just as you are.
Someone will always“richer” or “fitter” or “more successful” than you. The latest and greatest is only the latest and greatest for a fleeting moment before the new “next big thing” comes out. Technology is changing and evolving at a never before seen rate. There will always something new to own.
How can you learn to appreciate what you have, if you’re always chasing someone else’s life?
In the past, I was an expert self-comparer. I used to be the type of person who would sit in my own self-pity and self-doubt. I was trapped in an endless cycle of telling myself that I’d never be enough or have enough… So why bother? This is the mentality that kept me super-fat and super-depressed for the first two decades of my life.
I could not see or appreciate my own strength when all I saw was my weakness.
At the end of the day comparing your journey on this planet to someone else’s diminishes all of your own achievements.
The Grass Is Always Greener
Comparison is also dangerous for another reason. As helpful as it might be, we are not omniscient or omnipresent beings. Things are not always as they seem, and it’s important to keep that in the back of your mind.
Sure your coworker, let’s call her Becky, might be able to “eat whatever she wants without gaining weight”. But maybe Becky is also in the gym every day. Maybe before you even knew Becky existed she was clinically underweight and has to work extra hard to maintain a relatively normal weight.
Or maybe your genes do just suck.
But so what. If you hit the vending machine every day, just because you see Becky doing it, you might be sorely disappointed with the outcome.
Or maybe Becky is your neighbor who seems to have it all. The perfect husband, the perfect marriage, even her dog is perfect. But maybe under the perfect appearances, Becky and her husband have a loveless marriage. Or maybe Becky went through a bunch of awful men before finding ‘the one’.
Or maybe Becky does have a perfect life. But virtually no one is born with the perfect life. And no one gets the life they want by moping about how little they have compared to everyone else.
The world doesn’t work that way. You want something? You need to earn it. Stop wasting your days worrying about what everyone else had. Instead, use that time to find a way to get what you want.
Happiness Is A Choice
Having a positive outlook on life is a choice. You can make a conscious effort to love the life you already have and work towards your dream life. The life you deserve to live by making the decision to not waste your life wishing you had what everyone else has.
Stop focusing on what you lack and learn to love what you have. We only have a limited time on this earth, so go out and make the most of every precious moment.
Remember to work hard and stay grateful.